Extended Family is a community-based 501(c)(3) which is funded through grants, local entities,
and private donations which allow us to provide live-changing programs for students with a
loved one incarcerated. Our Mission is simple, “To offer help and inspire hope,” and is the
foundation for these much-needed programs. We serve students in Calhoun, Cherokee, DeKalb
and Etowah Counties.
Too many children in our communities are living with the repercussions of having a family
member who is incarcerated. Family incarceration affects students physically, mentally,
emotionally, and financially. Extended Family reaches out to these children and their families
through two important programs: Extended Family for Kids (EFK) and Extended Leadership
Academy (ELA).
Extended Family for Kids (EFK) is a first-step program consisting of nine interactive lessons
which teach children in grades K-12 how to manage the daily stresses of having an incarcerated
family member by providing them with coping skills to deal with the mental and emotional
trauma. During the 2022-23 school year, more than 400 students in four counties participated
in our EFK groups.
Extended Family staff can assist the families of incarcerated as well, letting them know about
other local resources to help with the physical challenges occurring during a loved one’s
incarceration. We show adult family members how to access community resources to find
solutions for food insecurity or even homelessness.
Extended Leadership Academy (ELA) is a program designed to be the next step toward success.
ELA was originally intended for older students who had completed the EFK program. However,
in 2022, at the request of the schools we serve, we expanded ELA to also include students who
have been identified by their school counselors as “at-risk.” ELA provides lessons to students in
personal leadership, and covers three topics including job readiness, health, and
communication. Students experience hands-on activities, and hear presentations from experts
in the community, professionals at the top of their field. The number of students who
participated in ELA this school year more than doubled from the previous year, to more than
150 students!
In total, more than 550 children in grades K-12 experienced the positive messages of EFK and
ELA, messages designed to offer help and inspire hope. Some of Our Kids have participated in
these programs multiple times, to have the messages reinforced that “It’s not your fault,” “You
don’t have to do their time,” and “You are not alone or without hope.” Still, our mission
compels us to bring the message to each of the children we serve, “You matter.”

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